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O Fim duma Viagem

Canoeing down the river

FRANCE | Thursday, 1 October 2015 | Views [510]

On Saturday, we woke up and grabbed breakfast at the hotel and lunch at the market. Not because we slept until 10:30 at which point breakfast could reasonably run into lunch, but because we had another full day ahead of us, which meant another bring-your-own picnic. The market was extremely extensive, full of everything from fresh vegetables to jars of honey. It all would have been especially nice if I’d had the time to just look around, decide what to buy, and bring it back to my apartment to cook. Seeing as I needed to find things that were pre-made and didn’t even need to be heated up or refrigerated, it was slightly harder.

I settled on quiche, an apple, and a pastry. With it in a bag, I was ready to go. So back to the hotel, and then back into the bus. Half an hour brought us to the departure point for canoeing. Then it was a bit more waiting before we put our valuables in waterproof containers and got into the canoes. I was partnered with Erin, with her sitting in the back while I sat in the front.

The first thing that happened after the canoe got in the water was that it crashed against another group’s canoe. The next thing to happen was that I steered us into bushes. We’d not been given any specific advice on how to actually do anything, like operate the canoes, and we were launched at the same time as another group, leading to the first crash. Then, while I was still trying to figure out what I was supposed to do, there were bushes fast approaching. And the part of my mind that knew enough physics to know which why I should be rowing to get the boat to turn lost to the part of my mind that went “I’m not seeing immediate results! Try the other way!” In turn, that part lost to the part of my mind that went “protect your face, don’t move, and wait for someone else to get you out of this.” And Erin steered us far enough away that I was no longer getting scraped or hair-pulled by branches.

At about the same time that I was figuring out how to steer, picking the twigs out of my hair, and generally starting to enjoy myself, Joe and Paula ended up turning around almost completely and getting separated from the rest of the group. Erin and I slowed down to try and let them catch up, and we spent a sizeable chunk of the ride just drifting. The current was strong enough to carry us along just fine.


River, canoes, and scenery

More scenery

It was nice. Peaceful. Beautiful. And also 3-4 hours long. So it got repetitive, boring, and downright tiring long before we were done canoeing. There was a long break for lunch most of the way through, and then a final 30-minute stretch when pretty much everyone just wanted to be done. And, eventually, we were.

We got back onto the bus and drove to a small town that we’d canoed past. There, we had half an hour to get ice cream. Technically, we had half an hour to explore the town, but the first stop that everyone made was for ice cream. And then a little bit of exploration that involved walking along the river, and climbing a set of stairs just to see where they led. (Actually, we probably saw at least half the town that way…)

Back to the bus. Back to the hotel. Free time until… 9:20 the next morning? OK.

We went back to our rooms for a while. At some point Ruby left, saying she’d be back soon, and then didn’t return. After verifying that she must have a key, because Nari and I had one between us, the two of us went to a Lidl to meet up with others and grab dinner. Four other people (Andrew, Katya, Maija, and Hannah) joined us in the store, and Ruby and Sam joined us a little later, bringing the meal down to a little over 6 euros a person. This brought us plenty of food. There was perhaps too little bread, (not that we ran out, but we were overly conscious of not having that much and kept rationing it) and a bit too much cheese (seven things for eight people) and it was very dark by the end, (we were eating outside) but overall a very enjoyable meal.

After that, we went to go find the nightlife in Sarlat. We found dancing, but I’m not sure if it counts as a success.


Tags: canoe, dancing, market, picnic

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